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| | |-+  Canadian Noir: Whispering City (1947) (with link)
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Author Topic: Canadian Noir: Whispering City (1947) (with link)  (Read 188 times)
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« on: July 14, 2017, 06:52:21 PM »


Full film:

“Maybe the noose is better than a straitjacket.”

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Recently finishing the wonderful Canadian Neo-Noir TV mini-series Cardinal, I was pleased to learn from a fellow poster on ICM about a Canadian challenge,where ICMers have to watch as many Canadian titles as possible in a month. Knowing recent productions from Canada,I struggled to come up with any made during the "Classic" era of cinema. Finding out about director Fyodor Otsep after seeing the fascinating Amok during my 100 French films in 100 days,I was thrilled to stumble on his name when I began search for Canadian Film Noir,which led to me listening in on what the city was saying.

The plot:

Working on a story about an actress who died in a car crash,newspaper reporter Mary Roberts presses lawyer Albert Frédéric on claims from the actress that the suicide of her husband was actually murder. Focusing on his new creation,composer Michel Lacoste allows his marriage to Blanche Lacoste to break down. Seeing nothing left,Blanche kills herself. Finding her body ,Michel fears that Blanche's suicide looks like murder. Hearing Michel's tune,his lawyer Frédéric promises to stop the city whispering and to rid any doubt of the suicide,but only if Michel pays a "debt":To stop Mary Robert's whispers.

View on the film:

For his final movie, (shot as the alternate French language version La forteresse was being shot on the same sets with a different cast) director Fyodor Otsep (who in 1918 was a Russian film cooperative,but had to flee Europe when France got Occupied) listens in with a sharp use of Morris C. Davis,which Otsep composers to build anxiety over the debt Michel Lacoste is ordered to pay,and the composition playing out over the breakdown of his marriage. Driving over the frosty atmosphere from the outdoor locations of 40's Canada,Otsep conducts a fantastic A Christmas Carol mood into Lacoste and Frédéric's outside encounters via stylish weaving camera moves casting a ghostly whisper around the two.

Gradually hitting the notes of doubt,the screenplay by Rian James /Leonard Lee/George Zuckerman/Michael Lennox/Gina Kaus/ Hugh Kemp & Sydney Banks (!) strongly strike a Melodrama edge in the crumbling, fractured marriage of the Lacoste's. Sending the lawyer in,the writers snowball a sinister Film Noir bite,where the suicide of Blanche pulls Michel into the deadly double dealing of Frédéric. Suspecting she is not getting the full story, Mary Anderson gives a wonderful,quick-witted performance as Roberts,who pulls Michel veil of darkness with a real snap. Ploughing Michel into following his orders, Paul Lukas gives a wicked,brittle performance as Frédéric,whilst Helmut Dantine pulls the raw Noir strings of Michel's fear,as Michel hears the city whisper.

cigar joe
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2017, 03:44:30 AM »

Started watching this once, never had a chance to finish it, thanks for the link.


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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2017, 08:56:22 AM »

I saw this a while ago on youtube and liked it, especially the outdoor scenes. The copy is unfortunately pretty bad though. Helmut Dentine is an actor I always found boring and wooden, but Mary Roberts for once gets a spunky role.


Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
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